Published Wednesday, 31 October 2012
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A masked gang pushed their way into Brian Hillick's Belfast house in March. Now he said he is making himself a "prisoner" in his home, with his house alarm on "first thing in the morning, last thing at night".
"This is the way I have to live now," he said, "I keep the door locked all day long. It's a shocking way to live but it's the only way I can live now."
Mr Hillick was confronted by a gang in his living room and one man held him down while others ransacked his house. They demanded cash, while his older sister, who has learning difficulties, shouted for them to stop.
"I didn't know how I was going to get out of it. I was panicking a little. At the beginning I thought it was a joke.
"I only realised when they started running up my stairs that this is not a joke, these guys are for real. Then I panicked," he explained.
This week, two more pensioners were assaulted by burglars who entered their homes. Mr Hillick's attackers have never been caught, and he said many elderly people are living in fear.
A lot of old age pensioners and people living on their own are making themselves prisoners in their own home. Doors, windows, everything's locked. They're just living in fear. No way to live at all.
On Monday, George Burns was beaten and tied up by two men at his home in Banbridge. The 85-year-old said he was lucky to be alive.
"I met this fella coming in but he just pushed me up into the room. He gave me an awful beating but it could've been worse. I could've been lying today with my eyes closed," said Mr Burns.
Figures show that violent crime against the over 65s is on the rise, with 181 attacks in the last year.
But police say crimes against the elderly are still fairly rare, but they do have a dedicated team tackling the problem.
"One of these is one crime too many," said Chief Superintendent Alan Todd.
"That's why we've a specific operation headed by a detective superintendent who looks at making sure that this type of crime is fully investigated, and that we take every opportunity to put people who commit these types of crimes before the courts.
"We've been successful in doing that and reducing these numbers of crimes and we will continue to do that in the future," he added.
However, with just three out of ten violent crime against over 65s solved, police have come under fire over their detection rates, although crime in Northern Ireland is at its lowest in years.